Monday, June 14, 2021

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner Fights Antisemitism in Court and in the Media

Attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is founder and President of Shurat HaDin, a non-profit and non-partisan organization that has won more than $1 billion in judgments against terrorist groups and their state sponsors, frozen more than $600 million in terrorist assets and collected $120 million in actual payments to the victims and their families. Just like the lawyers who I profiled in a 2016 article, she is "doing well by doing good." Terrorists and the states who sponsor them must be fought militarily, on social media, on mainstream media platforms, and in the halls of justice.

Some people are self-proclaimed activists who actually are just making money off of the chaos that they perpetuate, living in mansions while dispatching others to march and make mayhem in the streets. 

The real heroes are those who use their talents and their voices to promote and create positive changes. 

The normalization and mainstreaming of antisemitic hatred--which inevitably erupts into antisemitic violence--should be deeply concerning to everyone, not just Jews. Even if you are not Jewish and do not care about Jews, if you are an informed student of history then you know that Jews--and now the Jewish State--are the canaries in the international coal mine. Paraphrasing Martin Niemoller's famous quote, if you do not act when they come for the Jews, by the time they come for you there may be no one left to act. The antisemites in Poland in the 1930s may not have cared much about Adolf Hitler's antisemitic policies, but it did not take long before Hitler's hatred was not confined to Jews or to Germany's borders.

The Iran/Hamas war against the Jewish State is also a war against Jews, and therefore it is a war against civilization. In Anti-Israel Rhetoric Has Always Been About the Jews, Darshan-Leitner refutes the notion that anti-Israel rhetoric is not antisemitic:

Over the course of 11 days in May, Hamas fired 4,360 rockets and missiles at the population centers of southern and central Israel, killing 13 people. Dozens more were wounded and Israel, of course, struck back – precisely, carefully, and doing what was technically possible to destroy high-value Hamas targets without endangering the lives of innocent civilians.

Hamas knew that men, women and children would be killed in the fighting – that's precisely why they launched their ordnance from apartment buildings, hospitals and schools. The use of the two million Palestinians in Gaza as human shields and insidiously intending that the dead serve their ghoulish propaganda agenda are the very foundations of Hamas's strategy.

The usual suspects in the media – the Hollywood posers, the trolls and the woke progressive Left – swallowed the Hamas propaganda hook, line and sinker. Israel seemed unprepared to explain the conflict. The Start-Up Nation couldn't find a stand-up English speaker to be the country's singular voice to the rest of the world. But even the most articulate barrister of common sense pressed into hasbara (public diplomacy) service would have been unable to shield the Jewish state from what it would encounter on air and online...

Natan Sharansky, the former refusenik and Israeli politician, defined modern anti-Semitism with the "Three D" formula: The Demonization of Israel, the Delegitimization of Israel, and subjecting Israel to grossly unfair Double standards. The recent fighting in Gaza is slam-dunk proof of Sharansky's thesis. The pro-Palestinian rallies in Europe and the United States that followed the Gaza fighting were marked by calls to liberate Palestine from the "River to the Sea," a call to eradicate all Jews from Israel. Many of these rallies featured Palestinian flags flying alongside swastikas. In Los Angeles, in New York City, and Montreal, Jews were savagely beaten by mobs...

The fact that anti-Israel anti-Semitism is embedded in the halls of power should come as no surprise. When reason abandons the debate, the crazies on all sides feel empowered. Hatred for the Jewish people and Israel is the one thing that the alt-right and the woke Left agree on...

According to the Anti-Defamation League, the words "Hitler was right" were posted more than 17,000 times in just seven days in May. Extremist hashtags against Israel and Jews were trending wildly. The vile knows no bound. Even Lily Ebert, a 97-year-old Holocaust survivor who educates the world about the horrors of hate on social media, was overwhelmed on her TikTok account by the most disgusting messages, including countless posts that praised Hitler...

But let's not kid ourselves: Facebook and Twitter are monopolist businesses, and they've made billions off of this latest round of malignant incitement. The social media platforms did not stop designated anti-Israel terrorist groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah from recruiting and fund-raising online, so why should calling for the extermination of the Jewish people be any different? As the founder of an NGO that battles terrorists in court and who warned anyone who would listen that hatred on social media would lead to bloodshed, this handwriting was hash-tagged on the wall years ago.

In the hate business, anti-Semitism was always an easy sell and business is really good now. If hatred can't be stopped and decency won't win out over wokeness, perhaps legal liability – even criminal culpability – might be one way of getting the social media behemoths of Silicon Valley to stop their detestable practices. It isn't a vaccine for the hatred, of course, but it will limit the spread of the contagion.

Until then, it's a certainty that social media will promote more anti-Israel and anti-Semitic hate. Terrorists will be emboldened and, in the process, many more innocent Jews will have to pay the price in broken bones and shattered lives.

The rallying cry "Never Again" loses meaning and relevance when people--including politicians, media members, and social media platforms--ignore or even incite antisemitism. Israel-bashers, including politicians who are praised as "progressives," often assert that they are not antisemites and that accusations of antisemitism are being used as a weapon to silence them. That is nonsense, and it is easily refuted by using Sharansky's three Ds. If you are criticizing a specific Israeli policy or suggesting that Israel should consider enacting a different policy then you are treating Israel like a normal nation. If you are falsely accusing Israel of being an "apartheid state" committing genocide, then you are demonizing and delegitimizing Israel. If you are silent about the misogyny, oppression, and murder being committed by Arab/Islamic states and terrorist groups but you are loudly condemning Israel for defending herself against enemies committed to destroying Israel, then you are treating Israel with a double standard. This is not difficult to figure out, but it does require a refusal to be brainwashed by self-proclaimed "progressives" who rewrite history to suit their ideological preferences.

There is one other thing to consider: democracies do not wage war against other democracies. Israel is demonstrably a democratic state in which all citizens enjoy full and equal rights under the law. Look at the countries that are actively trying to destroy Israel, including Iran and Syria. How can any "progressive" person take the side of repressive regimes like Iran and Syria?

If you voted for one of the loudmouth self-proclaimed "progressives" who keep saying stupid and hateful things about Israel, it is all right to admit to yourself that you were fooled, and to make better choices in the next election. This is not--or should not be--about Democrats versus Republicans. There are antisemites on both sides of the aisle, and I condemn them all with equal fervor, but the reality is that right now the most outspoken anti-Israel politicians in America are the self-proclaimed "progressives" and that is a problem that the Democrats need to address before it does further damage not only to their party but to our country.


  1. It would be nice if you would write an article about the antisemitic rhetoric that has become the norm in the Republican party. Who do you think is being referred to when they rail against "globalists," "elitists" and "cultural Marxists"? How about the constant talk on right-wing cable news and radio about the "replacement" going on in American demographics which they (indirectly, but clearly) suggest has been orchestrated by Jewish people?

  2. I am troubled by antisemitism regardless of the source. I am one of the few commentators who condemns antisemitism from both sides of the political aisle. Most of the antisemitic rhetoric focused on Israel has emanated from self-proclaimed "progressives," so that is why several of my most recent articles have addressed the antisemitism from the left. However, I have also criticized antisemitism from the right. For example, see Bigotry Must Never be a Partisan Issue. Both political parties have at times given aid and comfort to antisemites in their midst, but antisemitism is becoming a central ideological viewpoint of the "progressives," who are taking over (if they have not already taken over) the Democratic Party.

  3. Thank you for your response. Yes, I applaud your efforts to try to provide an unbiased condemnation of antisemitism, no matter the source. However, do you dispute what I have said regarding its pervasiveness in the Republican party and its supporters? Do you not think it is disturbing that, for example, someone who has as big an audience as Tucker Carlson is routinely peddling antisemitic conspiracy theories? What about all of the antisemitic dog whistles that I cited that are regular parts of Republican talking points? This so-called "right-wing populism" is extremely dangerous, and I am worried that due to the Republican party's stronger support for Israel, people are turning a blind eye to the very obvious antisemitic messaging that they are using to arouse and win votes from the worst elements of society.

  4. You're welcome! I do not think that antisemitism is as pervasive in the Republican party as you assert, and there are more Republicans who will both speak up for Israel and condemn antisemitism than there are Democrats who will do the same. I have never watched Carlson, so I cannot speak to what he has said or not said. Also, there is a difference between condemning Marxism and engaging in antisemitic tropes. For example, I would agree with anyone who criticizes Soros as an individual who supports policies that are not in this country's best interest--but I would vehemently disagree with anyone who asserts that Soros represents all Jews or that the Jewish people are responsible for his individual actions/opinions. Disagreeing with Soros or even calling him a Marxist is not necessarily antisemitic--but stating or implying that he is part of a global Jewish conspiracy is antisemitic. So, some criticism of Soros is OK, but some is not OK. I would have to hear or read a specific and accurate quote from Carlson or the "dog whistles" you mention before I condemn them. I know, see, and hear exactly what AOC, Omar, Sanders, et. al. say, and I am disgusted by all of it. The Democratic Party rightly spoke out against Jesse Jackson for far less egregious (but still bad) remarks in the 1980s, but the Democratic Party of today is far different than the Democratic Party of that time. What you call "right-wing populism" is a problem--represented in a prior era by people like Patrick Buchanan and Joseph Sobran--but I am not convinced that it is a bigger problem than what is happening on the Left. I am troubled by all of it, but the most vocal and damaging antisemitism that I am seeing right now is mainly coming from the Left, and many Jews are hesitant to speak out about it because they identify with Leftist ideologies. A person from the Left who speaks against Donald Trump is practically immune from being criticized for antisemitism (or anything else). I wish that both parties would get rid of many of their most prominent figures, and replace them with people who are more competent and who do not have extreme views (whether to the Left or to the Right).

  5. I have to admit that I am surprised that you don't have more familiarity with some of the antisemitic conspiracy theories that are being spread in right-wing circles. You may not watch Tucker Carlson, but a large number of people do, and that is a big problem. Carlson had a segment on his show about the "great replacement," a conspiracy theory that suggests that there has been an effort (going back decades, and orchestrated by Jews) to "replace" the (white) American population with immigrants. Of course, Carlson didn't explicitly suggest Jewish people were behind it in his segment (and many others also avoid explicitly mentioning Jews, instead saying that "globalists" or "elitists" or "cultural Marxists" are behind it). But the intended audience can hear the dog whistles, and anyone vaguely familiar with this conspiracy theory knows that it involves Jewish people. Some more extreme individuals/organizations explicitly mention Jews as being part of it. The Anti-Defamation League condemned Carlson's remarks and urged Fox News to fire him. So I am not the only one who noticed. I'm sure you can search for more information if you are interested. I did not mention "Marxism" in my previous posts, but rather "cultural Marxism." It has little (if any) connection with actual Marxism. This conspiracy theory suggests that there is a group of "elites" (again, Jews) who seek to subvert western/conservative/Christian/traditional values and replace them multiculturalism and culturally liberal values. It is in some ways an updated version of the "Jewish Bolshivism" conspiracy theory that was prominent in, for example, Nazi Germany. Prominent people like Steve Bannon and a slew of elected Republican officals love railing against "cultural Marxism," and it is a constant topic of discussion in right-wing online forums and social media. Among more extreme individuals and in more anonymous venues (such as online forums), the supposed role of Jewish people in it is always highlighted. Of course, the more prominent people do not explicitly mention Jews. But again, they aren't stupid and they know that it is an antisemitic dog whistle. In addition to "cultural Marxists", Republicans have become fond of using the term "globalists," which is another antisemitic slur rooted in the longheld belief by antisemites that Jewish people are not loyal to the country that they live in. Let's not forget the QAnon conspiracy theory, which suggests (among many other things) that various "elites" (again, mostly Jews) are behind a global child sex trafficking ring. As crazy as this conspiracy theory is, it has been given legitimacy by many elected Republicans. Again, the antisemitism is most explicit among people who will not be held to account (anonymous posters online). I can send you plenty of links for more reading about these things, but you can surely search for the terms I have mentioned and read up on them if you are interested.

  6. I did not say that I am unfamiliar with right wing antisemitic tropes. They are not new, and I know about them, dating all the way back to the John Birch Society, and including people like Pat Buchanan, Joseph Sobran, David Duke, etc.

    I said that I do not think that antisemitism is as pervasive in the Republican Party as you assert, and I declined to comment about Carlson because I have never watched his show. Regarding the ADL, they have lost some credibility in recent years because they only seem to be capable of recognizing (or at least speaking out about) antisemitism from one side of the aisle (which is not to say I agree or disagree about Carlson, because I don't watch his show).

    You are focusing on "dog whistles" and what you believe to be implied by things that you have heard (or have been quoted to you).

    This article and my recent articles on this site have focused on (1) distinguishing between legitimate criticism of a state versus anti-Israel slander that is in fact antisemitism and (2) explaining the formal definitions of genocide and apartheid to demonstrate that Israel is not guilty of either crime, and thus the people who falsely accuse Israel are antisemites who are intentionally or negligently fomenting antisemitic violence. Prominent self-proclaimed "progressives" who speak out about various forms of oppression have publicly taken antisemitic positions. They are not speaking in "dog whistles" or code. No one needs a decoder ring to figure out AOC, Omar, Sanders, and the rest of that crew, nor do we need decoder rings to figure out how slanted the coverage is in the NYT and other media outlets.

    I could be wrong, but I don't think that the people marching in America shouting "Free Palestine," "Hitler was Right" and other antisemitic slogans are Republicans. If it can be proven that I am wrong and that the uptick in antisemitic rhetoric/violence is not directly connected to the self-proclaimed "progressives" then I after I see that proof I will write about it.

    Has Carlson ever called Israel a genocidal, apartheid state? Has he ever directly accused Jewish people of dual loyalty and of complicity with Israeli actions that he deems to be genocidal? Mainstream Democratic Party figures regularly do such things with impunity. I know about Marjorie Taylor Greene and I have written about her. I would not call her a mainstream or influential Republican Party figure, but when I saw her comments I wrote about them. She has nowhere near the national stature and influence of Presidential candidate Sanders, or the members of the self-proclaimed "Squad."

  7. The white supremacists in Charlottesville in 2017 chanted "Jews will not replace us," referring to the supposed role of Jews in orchestrating a "replacement" of the white American population in the "replacement" conspiracy theory. I am sure you condemned the rally for its antisemitism (and other forms of hatred). The perpetrator of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting was motivated at least partially by his belief in the "replacement" conspiracy theory. Is giving airtime to this "replacement" conspiracy theory (which has obviously aroused antisemites) while stopping short of explicitly mentioning Jews somehow harmless? Is promoting the "replacement" theory without explicitly mentioning Jews not antisemitic? What is implied by the various "dog whistles" that I mentioned is not my belief alone. It should be obvious to anyone with any sort of political and cultural literacy what they imply. It doesn't require a "decoder." For people who use dog whistles, their main purpose in speaking in such a code is to be vague enough so that when someone points out the antisemitism (or racism in other examples of dog whistles), they can respond that that is not what they intended. You surely know that. You brought up the antisemitic trope regarding Jews supposedly having dual loyalty. That is precisely what the "globalist" term that right-wing Republicans love using these days alludes to. I am sure you know that as well. If you find leftist rhetoric regarding Israel more alarming and choose to focus on that, that is obviously your choice. All I am saying is that I find the widespread use of thinly-veiled antisemitic rhetoric by conservative politicians and their supporters extremely troubling. You could write about that as well.

  8. Do you have a comment about the content of my article? You seem to be much more interested in the article that I didn't write or the article that you think I should have written than the article that I actually wrote. What do white supremacists in Charlotte in 2017 have to do with the connections between anti-Israel rhetoric and antisemitism? The latter is the subject of this article and the subject of several of my recent articles. There has been a surge in antisemitic attacks in the U.S. and around the world, and the attackers have often explicitly linked their attacks to their anti-Israel viewpoints--and these viewpoints emanate from the "progressive" take on Israel as a state that is guilty of apartheid and genocide.

    This article has nothing to do with Charlottesville or "replacement" conspiracy theory. There certainly has not been a lack of media coverage about those, however. Meanwhile, who is calling out the members of Congress who are publicly proud to be antisemites? Will you cease being "Anonymous" and publicly condemn their antisemitism? Do you have the courage to call out antisemites by name, even if those antisemites profess "progressive" ideas?

    You mentioned the horrific synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh, and you state that the shooter was motivated by the "replacement" conspiracy theory, implying that the Republican Party is somehow to blame. The fact is that the shooter publicly called President Trump a "globalist" and lumped President Trump in as part of the conspiracy. The shooter is not a Republican. In contrast, AOC, Omar, Sanders, and others are major voices in the Democratic Party. They and other like-minded self-proclaimed "progressives" repeatedly say anti-Israel and antisemitic statements, and they encourage their followers to boycott Israel, to divest from Israel, etc.

    I am concerned about antisemitism regardless of the source, but I am particularly concerned about how antisemitism has become a mainstream position of influential Democrats, and of self-proclaimed "progressive" "antiracist" advocates.

  9. David, I was trying to have a respectful, civil conversation. If I offended you, then I apologize because that was not my intention. You do not need to adopt such a combative tone. We are both on the same side here. I never challenged anything that you wrote about so called "progressives," so I do not understand why you are bringing that up. You do not want to discuss this in the comments section of this article, fine. I respect that and will not comment anymore. But I want to add one last thing: you suggested that President Trump's usage of the term "globalist" (and other antisemitic rhetoric) was not in any way responsible for the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting because the shooter called Trump a "globalist" and lumped him in as part of the conspiracy. That is analogous to suggesting that Bernie Sanders' various antisemitic remarks are harmless because most antisemites hate Sanders and would lump him in as part of whatever they are railing against at the moment (since Sanders is of Jewish heritage). It makes no sense. You said the shooter was not Republican. Okay. But Republicans are at least in part responsible for spreading hateful, antisemitic conspiracy theories that inspired the shooter.

  10. This article and several of my recent articles have focused on the growing wave of antisemitism from self-proclaimed "progressives." I perceive this to be the biggest threat to Jewish safety in the U.S. and around the world, and a big threat to the survival of Israel. A comment about this article that ignores the main subject matter and instead instructs me to write about a different, presumably more important topic is--at least indirectly--challenging what I wrote about self-proclaimed "progressives." My assumption is that if you agree with what I said and agree with the importance that I ascribe to this issue then your first thought/comment would not be to ask why I did not write about something else. Clearly, I wrote about this and have written several recent articles about this because I am very concerned about this and because I am trying to raise awareness. Bernie Sanders has directly said remarks that are anti-Israel and antisemitic. His beliefs and policy positions are not open to interpretation. I am not a fan of how President Trump expressed himself on many issues, but I am not aware of him directly taking antisemitic and/or anti-Israel policy positions. I don't agree with everything that he said/did, but I would not call him antisemitic. Regarding the Pittsburgh shooter, it is not me saying that he was not Republican. The shooter made it clear that he was not Republican. The people marching in the streets of this country shouting anti-Israel and antisemitic vitriol are generally self-proclaimed "progressives" who are following the tone set by the public comments made by AOC, Omar, Tlaib, Sanders, BLM, etc. There is a direct cause/effect relationship that many people do not want to see or acknowledge because they either support that rhetoric or because they so strongly support the other positions taken by those people that they are reticent to publicly contradict this overt antisemitism and anti-Zionism.

    Right-wing antisemitism is not new, and I am not convinced that it is a greater threat now than it used to be. Less than 100 years ago, it was acceptable in many parts of this country to openly be a KKK member, and many KKK members were elected to political office. It was acceptable to have quotas and property covenants that discriminated against Jews. Even more recently, mainstream figures like Pat Buchanan, Joe Sobran, and others were not ashamed to publicly espouse antisemitic sentiments. In contrast, antisemitism is an inseparable part of the "progressive" program, and in fact "progressives" have decided that Jews are not even a minority but rather part of "white supremacy," which is ludicrous considering that white supremacy targeted (and still targets) Jews. So, I find it quite a stretch to assert that the Pittsburgh shooter was inspired by Republicans, or that the antisemitism from the radical right is a larger danger than the antisemitism from the left. The very fact that antisemitism from the radical right is often talked about and denounced demonstrates that it is not as powerful or dangerous as the antisemitism from the self-proclaimed "progressives" that is rapidly becoming part of mainstream discourse.


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